The Institute of Global Health Innovation (IGHI) has announced its winner of the Health Innovation Prize 2022.
Student innovators behind Sukoon Care took home £10,000 to fund their idea. The idea, an app that offers “stress-free and accessible rehab care at home for people with cardiovascular disease”, was pitched to a panel of judges on Tuesday night.
Sukoon Care, from a team at the University of Oxford, competed along with four other finalists to win the final cash prize. The projects ranged from a games-based app to detect early signs of dementia, to a microchip with 3D carbon electrodes to be used in rapid diagnostic testing for infection.
Out of 29 student teams from across the UK’s universities, five of the top applicants were carefully shortlisted to present in the final. During the event, each team presented a lightning pitch for two minutes followed by a round of challenging questions from the judges and audience.
The audience also had the chance to vote for their favourite project, and the result was unanimous – Sukoon care was the audience favourite as well as the winner of the Prize.
Empowering patients to manage their health
University of Oxford student Hansa Shree, along with Jeannine Coelho and Akhilesh Sivaraman are the founders of Sukoon Care. Their text-based app aims to help patients with cardiovascular disease arrange home visits and sessions with a nurse. The nurse is guided by the app to tailor the recovery programme to the patient’s needs, covering exercise, diet, lifestyle, and mental wellbeing.
Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is a growing concern in low- and middle-income countries where over 75% of deaths due to CVD occur. Sukoon Care want to soft launch their programme in Pakistan where these illnesses are on the rise. They hope their app will equip and empower patients to manage their condition at home, reduce the burden of the disease and improve people’s quality of life.
"We’re so excited to have won the judges' £10k award and the Audience Choice award from IGHI. This is a huge milestone in Sukoon’s journey to reduce healthcare inequity." Hansa Shree, Jeannine Coelho and Akhilesh Sivaraman Founders of Sukoon Care
The team hope to use the money to scale their idea:
"We’re so excited to have won the judges' £10k award and the Audience Choice award from IGHI. This is a huge milestone in Sukoon’s journey to reduce healthcare inequity, and we would like to thank the judges, friends, family and advisors for their incredible support. We look forward to using the prize fund to save and improve the lives of heart patients in Pakistan, and ultimately scale for global impact!"
The judges’ verdict
Each year the Institute of Global Health Innovation runs the Health Innovation Prize. The event offers students from any UK university the chance to win £10,000 towards their global health project.
"I'm always greatly impressed by the quality, innovation, excitement, and capacity to make a difference of the entries." Dr Richard Smith IGHI Visiting Professor
This year the job of scrutinising each project and grilling the finalists fell to three judges: Dr Richard Smith, IGHI visiting professor and former editor of the BMJ, Dr Mary Ryan, Interim Vice-Provost (Research and Enterprise) and Professor of Materials Science and Nanotechnology at Imperial College London, and Dr Ana Luisa Neves, IGHI Advanced Research Fellow and Associate Director of the NIHR Imperial Patient Safety Translational Research Centre.
Dr Richard Smith, chair of the event said:
"Judging the Health Innovation Prize is a highlight of my year, and I'm always greatly impressed by the quality, innovation, excitement, and capacity to make a difference of the entries. Yesterday's final was no exception, and I congratulate all the finalists on their submissions and presentations. As an old man, the students give me great confidence in the future."
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